Graham: Trump should be 'as transparent as possible' about Ukraine call

Sen. Lindsey GrahamLindsey Olin GrahamRepublicans aim to avoid war with White House over impeachment strategy New York Times editorial board calls for Trump's impeachment Graham invites Giuliani to testify about recent Ukraine trip MORE (R-S.C.), the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, on Monday urged President TrumpDonald John TrumpRepublicans aim to avoid war with White House over impeachment strategy New York Times editorial board calls for Trump's impeachment Trump rips Michigan Rep. Dingell after Fox News appearance: 'Really pathetic!' MORE to release as much information as possible about what he said to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky regarding Democratic presidential candidate Joe BidenJoe BidenNew York Times editorial board calls for Trump's impeachment Graham invites Giuliani to testify about recent Ukraine trip Booker leads other 2020 Dems in petition urging DNC to change debate qualifications MORE.

Graham, a staunch Trump ally, says the president would help himself by being as transparent as possible about whether he urged the Ukrainian leader to investigate the business ties Hunter Biden, former Vice President Joe Biden’s son, had with Ukrainian gas company, Burisma Holdings.


Trump’s conversation came to public attention last week after an unnamed whistleblower alerted the intelligence community’s inspector general, Michael Atkinson, that Trump made a promise to a foreign leader in a phone call.

“I would urge him to continue to be as transparent as possible and tell us as much as he can without compromising executive privilege so that we can understand what happened,” Graham said in an interview with conservative radio host Hugh Hewitt on Monday.

“I would just urge the president — you know, he’s talking openly about the conversation — to release as much as possible,” he added.

Graham predicted that more transparency would only put pressure on Biden to explain his son’s role as a paid board member of Burisma and whether Ukrainian officials or businessmen used him to gain influence in the Obama administration.

“And here’s what I think: I think you’re going to find more about that phone call in the coming days. You’re going to be surprised about the level of transparency regarding that phone call. And in turn, that should put pressure on the system to find more about what Joe Biden was talking about,” Graham told Hewitt.

Trump on Sunday acknowledged to reporters that he discussed Biden with Zelensky, explaining, “We don’t want our people like Vice President Biden and his son creating to the corruption already in the Ukraine.”

Graham has also called for a broader Department of Justice investigation into attempts by Ukraine to influence the 2016 election in favor of then-Democratic presidential candidate Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonNo, the polls aren't wrong — but you have to know what to look for How to shut down fake Republican outrage over 'spying' on Trump More than 200,000 Wisconsin voters will be removed from the rolls MORE.

“Now it’s time for all things Ukraine to be looked at,” Graham said.

“There’s all kind of allegations about the Ukraine dumping information into the legal system and political system in 2016 about Manafort,” Graham added, referring to former Trump campaign chairman Paul ManafortPaul John ManafortHow to shut down fake Republican outrage over 'spying' on Trump DOJ backs ex-Trump campaign aide Richard Gates's probation request Former FBI general counsel wants apology from Trump MORE, who was sentenced to prison for bank and tax fraud.

Trump defender and lawyer Rudy Guliani has raised questions about whether Ukraine revealed information about Manafort’s business dealings in a bid to help Clinton defeat Trump.

Serhiy Leshchenko, a Ukrainian journalist and member of Ukraine’s Parliament who revealed payments between former Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych and Trump, denied the charge in an op-ed published by The Washington Post Saturday. 

“My desire to expose Manafort’s doings was motivated by the desire for justice,” he wrote. “Neither Hillary Clinton, nor Joe Biden, nor John Podesta, nor George Soros asked me to publish the information from the black ledger."

Other Republican senators, however, have raised concerns about reports that Trump may have pressured Ukraine to investigate Biden.

“If the president asked or pressured Ukraine’s president to investigate his political rival, either directly or through his personal attorney, it would be troubling in the extreme. Critical for the facts to come out,” Sen. Mitt RomneyWillard (Mitt) Mitt RomneyIs a trap being set for Trump in the Senate trial? The Hill's Morning Report — Sponsored by AdvaMed — House panel delays impeachment vote until Friday Senate gears up for battle over witnesses in impeachment trial MORE (R-Utah) tweeted.

Sen. Pat ToomeyPatrick (Pat) Joseph ToomeyNSA improperly collected US phone records in October, new documents show Overnight Defense: Pick for South Korean envoy splits with Trump on nuclear threat | McCain blasts move to suspend Korean military exercises | White House defends Trump salute of North Korean general WH backpedals on Trump's 'due process' remark on guns MORE (R-Pa.) on Sunday said on NBC’s “Meet the Press” that it is “not appropriate” for a candidate to ask a foreign leader for assistance.